Let’s explore Japan with CIT, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with dense cities, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and thousands of shrines and temples. Shinkansen bullet trains connect the main islands of Kyushu (with Okinawa’s subtropical beaches), Honshu (home to Tokyo and Hiroshima’s atomic-bomb memorial) and Hokkaido (famous for skiing). The capital, Tokyo also best-known for skyscrapers, shopping and pop culture.
Leave your comfort zone without being uncomfortable. Whether it’s staying in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), soaking in a bubbling onsen (hot spring) or gazing at the apparition of a geisha, Japan offers regular doses of “Wow!” against a backdrop of ultra-modern comfort.
Indeed, many travellers visit Japan solely to savouring the delights of Japanese cuisine on its home turf. Complement traditional Japanese cuisine with sake from a local brewery, sip on sweet potato shochu in Kagoshima, or for something more familiar, and try one of Japan’s highly-acclaimed whiskies, trendy craft gins or micro-brews. Explore, discover, taste and experience the Japan’s rich food and drink culture whether in izakaya, restaurants, ryokan or ryotei. From Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu and Okinawa in the south, you can expect to find a highly seasonal menu serving regional specialties and dishes as delicious as they are photogenic. There are plenty of meat and vegetable options to choose from even if you don’t eat fish.
From contemporary art to ruins, relics and the surviving structures of ancient capitals, Japan has over a thousand years of history and culture on display. Kyoto and Nara are a Mecca of Japan’s traditional culture and the stage on which much of Japanese history was played out. With 17 UNESCO World heritages sites more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines, Kyoto is the most culturally richest city in the world. Unquestionably, most people visit Kyoto and Nara for their great traditional and historical culture. If you like your culture hands-on, book to stay at a temple for a taste of temple life, walk one of the country’s ancient trails, get creative with a traditional craft at a local studio.
Japan is a long and slender country that made up of mountains, offering you plenty of opportunity to spend time among the peaks. A trek to the top of Tokyo’s highest mountain—Mt. Takao—can be done within a day from the capital, while the pilgrimage routes that wind through the Kii Mountain Range in western Japan are much more time consuming. For nature at its most active, head Deep South to the volcanic island of Sakurajima. Not just limited to mountain exploration, the country’s coastlines are often dotted with towering monuments of rock forged by years of erosion, and the tropical beaches are clean and a great spot for sunning, snorkelling, diving and surfing.